Monday, November 5, 2012

1st Place in Kona Coffee Recipe Contest

The Big Island's most important recipe contest of the year was held on Sunday at the Sheraton Kona Resort. The Kona Coffee Recipe Contest, sponsored by KTA and Kamehameha Schools, included dessert and entree divisions divided in professional, amateur, and culinary student categories.

My display table. We went with a "candy shop" theme

I entered the amateur dessert division with my Kona Coffee Brigadeiro recipe and won first place!

Posing with Kona coffee royalty

Let me tell you, the competition was fierce. On either side of me were contestants that had entered for many years and knew all the tricks of the trade. We chatted as we set up our display tables and the intimidation factor grew quite high for me, as this was my first go at this particular contest.

I was so surprised, happy and grateful to have won. Those little brigadeiros (a Brazilian fudgy candy) look humble, but pack a mighty flavor punch. The display turned out pretty cute too, thanks to my helper Rosanne. Thanks also to Renee for cheering me on, and to Ciara and Brendan for bringing me a sandwich when I forgot to eat the entire day. Please see the winning recipe below and don't forget to drink 100% Kona coffee!

My lucky coffee cup ring

The Kona Coffee Festival continues until November 11 with loads of fun activities including a parade, coffee cupping contest, a concert, and much more. See you there.

Kona coffee brigadeiros

Kona Coffee Brigadeiros
A twist on a Brazilian fudgy candy
Makes about 3 dozen

1 cup sweetened condensed milk
½ cup espresso or very strong Kona coffee
2 TBL butter
2 tsp light corn syrup
½ cup cocoa powder
36 Kona coffee beans

In a medium saucepan combine condensed milk, coffee, butter and corn syrup over medium-high heat stirring constantly with a wooden spoon. Once the mixture begins to boil, turn the heat down to medium-low and continue to stir for 15-25 minutes or until the mixture thickens, like fudge.

Pour the mixture into a bowl without scraping the sides of the pan, discard what remains in the pan. Allow the mixture to cool in the fridge for 3-4 hours. 

Using a teaspoon, scoop the mixture and roll into balls with butter-coated hands. Dip into cocoa powder to coat and press a coffee bean on top. Enjoy!

You should know that it took me 4 attempts to get the technique for this recipe right. Don't get impatient when you are cooking the batter, it needs to be pretty thick or else it won't hold together. I just don't want anyone to get the idea that this is an easy recipe, it's not! But it is certainly delish and was worth all previous failures. 


  1. Awesome job Gwen!! Thank you for sharing this recipe! I just don't know where a girl might find kona coffee beans in Minnesota :/

    1. Ah haha! Well, I will have to send you some then:)

  2. Gwen! You never seem to amazing me with your wonderful recipes. You are so amazing! Congrats to another award winning recipe! I see big things in your future. One day, I'll be telling people that I knew Gwen when her blog only had a couple dozen comments.

    1. Well let's hope so! Thanks for your constant support friend:)

  3. Ahh congrats Gwen! You deserve it. Your recipes are always so fabulous.

  4. Congrats Gwen!

  5. You are on fire! If we ever get to Hawaii, I think you'll be the famous local chef! Great job, Gwen!

  6. Go Gwen! Awesome job gurl!


Aloha Saturdays with Maggy reader! Thank you for your comments, I love hearing your thoughts and feedback.


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